Latin America Amateur

Argentina's Fernandez de Oliveira strolls to victory at the LAAC

The R&A
15 Jan 23
3 mins

Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira swept to a record-breaking victory in the 2023 Latin America Amateur Championship at Grand Reserve Golf Club in Puerto Rico today. 

His five-under-par final round of 67 ensured that he finished four shots clear of runner-up Luis Carrera of Mexico on a 23-under-par total of 265, which breaks the 72-hole Championship record of 273 set by Joaquin Niemann in 2018.  The 22-year-old, who celebrates his birthday tomorrow, is the second Argentinian to lift the trophy after Abel Gallegos triumphed in 2020. 

Major berths

With his win, he has earned an invitation to the 2023 Masters Tournament, an exemption for the first time into the US Open at The Los Angeles Country Club and an exemption for The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool, where his compatriot Roberto De Vicenzo famously lifted the Claret Jug in 1967.  “I'm still very shocked. I think my life has changed,” said Fernandez de Oliveira. “I'm looking forward to a great year.  I'm going to take advantage of the three opportunities that I've been given for winning this event. So I'm very happy and I just want to enjoy every second of it.”

Assured performance

Fernandez de Oliveira opened up his final round with a birdie only to give a shot back with a bogey at the 3rd. That was the only blemish on his card for the remainder of the round and he picked up three further shots with birdies at the 4th, 6th and 9th holes.  Despite pressure from Carrera, who at one point narrowed the gap to only two shots, Fernandez de Oliveira remained calm and rolled in consecutive birdies at the 11th and 12th.  A string of pars on the way home ensured a memorable victory for the University of Arkansas student, who volunteered as a scoreboard carrier in the first ever playing of the Championship at Pilar Golf in 2015. 
As the 2023 Champion, Fernandez de Oliveira earns exemptions into The Open and US Open and an invitation into the Masters Tournament.

Never done

“I just played thinking it was never done,” added Fernandez de Oliveira. “Even though when I was on 17, and he [Carrera] hit his first shot like to 30, 25 feet, which I knew it was hard to make, probably after that, after my first shot on 17, I thought, well, now I'm in a really good place. But it's kind of late in the round. It's not that it's been one shot that changed my mentality or my round today. It was very tight and he was playing real good. I never knew when he was going to stop making birdies. We have the whole celebration. Tonight we are going to have fun. “Going back where Roberto [De Vicenzo] won in 1967, it's very special. I went there in 2016, and the minute I walked into the clubhouse, they asked me where I was from and I said ‘Argentina’, and they told me, ‘okay, come with me’. They took me to the lunch room where they have portraits and everything about where when he won. I felt very proud.”

Carrera comes close

Carrera enjoyed a fine front nine holes in which he picked up four birdies at the 3rd, 6th, 7th and 9th. He added two further shots just after the turn before two bogeys in the remaining five holes checked his stride as he settled for a five-under-par round of 67 and a 19-under-par total overall.  The Mexican has earned places in the final stages of qualifying for the US Open and Final Qualifying for The Open. 

Fantastic week

“I think the week has been fantastic,” said Carrera. “I am not sad at all. I just wish I could have won, but it was a great experience. I proved myself that I can play great golf, be up there, and win big tournaments. It is satisfying. “It was a fantastic battle. I was hitting some really good shots and Mateo was making up and downs and making putts from everywhere. I felt I was playing very solidly and was not getting close to him. I got to two-shots but not much closer. “It is just golf, sometimes you get good breaks and sometimes you get bad breaks. I believe I got some good ones but maybe I needed a little bit more of the good ones. “I am very proud and very happy. It (my season) started good, with two top 5s, and now I just want to carry this into my college season and the two chances I have now with the US Open qualifier and The Open qualifier. It is going to be a great year.”

Notable others

Vicente Marzilio, who was runner-up in last year’s Championship at Casa de Campo, excelled again to finish in third place on 17-under-par, while José Islas shot a 65 to claim fourth place. The defending champion Aaron Jarvis finished tied-17th on four-under-par.  The 2024 Latin America Championship will be played at Santa Maria Golf Club in Panamá City, Panamá from 18-21 January. For more information about the Latin America Amateur Championship, please visit